"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, April 18, 2016

Summer Meetings?

Way back in 2008, the then BoS decided to hold a summer information session. It was held on July 19th 2008 at 9am Saturday morning in the Academy auditorium. The session was moderated by Town Moderator Mel Borrin. Despite high expectations, the turnout was very poor. Just 43 audience in attendance. Most town departments provided updates on their activities and the audience at the end asked maybe a half dozen questions. Only 4 non-residents in attendance.
There was also a repeat session in 2009, this time at 4pm at Town Hall on Thursday July 23rd. About the same turnout, same moderator, a presentation by the Community Services team, a few audience questions and maybe 75 minutes or so and it was over.
One more try in 2010 again at 4pm on a Thursday at Town Hall, again moderated by the Town Moderator and about 50 showed up, with 6 being non-residents. This meeting lasted two hours, with a lot of time spent discussing property assessments, particularly those on the lake which many felt were unfairly high.
While the BoS had the best of intentions in holding summer meetings in the hope of attracting summer residents, the vast majority were just not interested.  Back in those days, the BoS ( at least for a few summers) had a few less meetings over July and August so there were less opportunities for citizens to come ask questions. Even so, it did not seem to impact the attendance at the summer meetings in a positive manner.
I used to believe that many of the summer residents, even the non voters, would show up in droves to voice their opinions on how their tax dollars are being spent or not being spent. It never happened. I'm not really sure why that is, but perhaps they are not as concerned about things as we seem to think they are. Many come from places where the tax rate is much, much higher. Or, since they can't vote, maybe they feel why bother? Maybe it is much simpler. They are here in the summer to vacation and enjoy the lake.


Anonymous said...

My recollection is that those meetings while intended for non-residents also had a number of unhappy snowbirds who were residents and were very upset due to the State's Donor Town property tax and that many unhappy taxpayers were attempting to get their assessments reduced and wanted information on the assessment process and the problems with the Donor Towns and why MB was number 1 or 2.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Town; earned undergraduate and graduate college degrees; and had to move to an area of the country where a job was available to suit my education. At that time, I did not want to leave the M'boro area.

I am also a non-resident taxpayer in M'boro. Does the Board of Selection really think that I would plan my annual vacation time to coincide with a summer Town meeting that was informational? When I have any questions, I either call the Town offices or look on the web-site. If I want further insight, I can always watch the various meetings on video.

I do not have any voting rights as a non-resident nor do I think that I should. The summer meeting is informational, i.e., input would be met with a nod and shelved away in the archives...

Hope this helps to shed some light on one non-resident taxpayer's thoughts on your summer meetings.